Doctors and Their Patients, Not Insurance Companies, Should Make Health Care Decisions
Women’s Health Week evaluates the state of women’s health, which the Affordable Care Act improved. The ACA continues to help women by protecting the 35 percent of Tennessee women with pre-existing conditions, offering free wellness visits that focus on prevention to catch cancer early, and eliminating discrimination by insurance companies.
However, the ACA remains under attack by President Trump and Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery through a lawsuit to overturn the entire ACA. If Slatery and Trump succeed in court, there will be devastating consequences for the women of Tennessee who depend on the ACA. Unfortunately, Slatery and Trump would rather insurance companies be in charge, instead of doctors.
The ACA Reigned in Insurance Companies
Pre-existing condition protections: In Tennessee, 35 percent of women aged 18 to 64 have a pre-existing condition. Before the ACA, insurance companies could deny women coverage for pre-existing conditions such as pregnancy, cancer, and diabetes. In Tennessee, women aged 45 to 64 have the highest number of declinable pre-existing conditions: 46 percent.
If the ACA is overturned: Tennessee women would no longer be guaranteed insurance because of a pre-existing condition, including pregnancy.
Discrimination: Before the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies discriminated against women based solely on their gender; meaning women paid higher premiums than men for the same plan just for being a woman.
If the ACA is overturned: Insurance companies can once again charge women more than men for the same health plan.
More Women Have Insurance
“Approximately 11% of women ages 19 to 64 (approximately 10.6 million women) were uninsured in 2017, a decline from a rate of 19% in 2013.” “Uninsured women often have inadequate access to care, get a lower standard of care when they are in the health system, and have poorer health outcomes. They are also less likely to report having a regular doctor.” Kaiser Family Foundation // Dec. 21, 2018
If the ACA is overturned: Women will lose their health insurance. Compared to women with insurance, uninsured women have lower use of important preventive services such as mammograms, pap tests, and timely blood pressure checks.
ACA Essential Health Benefits for Women
Standard of Care:
“All privately-purchased plans must cover maternity care and mental health, which had been historically excluded from most those plans.” “The ACA set national standards for the scope of benefits offered in private plans. In addition to the broad categories of essential health benefits (EHBs) offered by marketplace plans, all privately-purchased plans must cover maternity care and mental health, which had been historically excluded from most those plans.” Kaiser Family Foundation // Dec 21, 2018
If the ACA is overturned: Insurance companies do not have to legally offer coverage for maternity care and free preventative care including yearly wellness visits and screenings such as mammograms and pap tests to catch cancer early.